The golden green gemstone peridot is the gem variety of the mineral forsterite. Long valued for its exceptional color, peridot has been used in jewelry since antiquity.
From the mid 1800s, peridot was a favored stone in jewelry, reaching the height of its popularity during the aesthetic period of the Victorian era and the reign of Edward VII of England, who designated it as his favorite gemstone.1 Almost every school of the day – the Pre-Raphaelites, the Arts and Crafts movement, Art Nouveau as well as those working in the Edwardian style – incorporated this gemstone into their designs.
As a compliment to King Edward VII, whose favourite stone they were, there was a fashion for translucent green peridots for necklaces and pendants usually set round with diamonds…2
Generally, peridot is classified as being a member of the olivine group, but it is actually a member of the isomorphous forsterite-fayalite group. A magnesium-iron silicate, finer quality stones contains a much higher proportion of magnesium to iron. Peridot is a type II gemstone on the GIA clarity scale with distinctive disc like gas inclusions called “lily pads”. Another notable characteristic is its strong double refraction.
A prominent ancient source of peridot was St. John’s Island, Egypt (also known as Topazios, Zabargad and Zebirget). Originally peridot was referred to as topazios by the ancient Greeks, hence the early name for this peridot rich region – Topazios. Historically, peridot has also been misnamed chrysolite (a yellowish-green variety of olivine) and olivine. The main commercial source for this gemstone is currently Arizona, USA with higher quality specimens mined from the more traditional sources of Myanmar, Pakistan, and Egypt. The rarest source of gem quality peridot must be the stony-iron meteorites called pallasites.3
Peridot is the gift for the 16th anniversary and the birthstone for the month of August.
Colossal Vintage Peridot and Diamond Ring.
Gemological Information for Peridot
|Color:||Green, Yellow-Green, Brownish|
|Durability:||Sensitive to Heat|
|Similar Stones:||Peridot Might be Confused with Many Transparent Green Stones and Glass, Usually the Strong Double Refraction is a Good Indicator|
|Country of Origin:||Myanmar, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, U.S.|
|Ultrasonic Cleaning:||Not Safe|
|Steam Cleaning:||Not Safe|
|Warm Soapy Water:||Safe|
|Heat Sensitivity:||May Fracture|
- Amstel-Bos, E.G.G van. Sieraden uit de negentiende eeuw. Lochem, The Netherlands: De Tijdstroom, 1981
- Bennett & Mascetti, David & Daniela. Understanding Jewellery. Antique Collectors’ Club. 1991.
- Kunz, George Frederick. The Curious Lore of Precious Stones. Dover, 1971.
- Robert Webster/ B.W. Anderson. Gems Their Sources, Descriptions and Identification 4th Edition. 1990.
- Romero, Christie. Warman’s Jewelry. Iola, WI, USA: Krause Publications, 2002
- Scarisbrick, Diana. Ancestral Jewels: Treasures of Britain’s Aristocracy. New York: The Vendome Press, 1990.
- Sinkankas & Koivula, John & John I, and Becker, Gerhard. Peridot as an Interplanetary Gemstone. GIA Journal, Gems & Gemology. Spring 1992.
Gems & Gemology: The Quarterly Journal of the Gemological Institute of America.
- Summer 1938, Hawaiian Peridot, p. 162, 1p.
- Spring 1960, A Four-Rayed Star peridot, p. 3, 1p.
- Winter 1962, Unusual Inclusions in Peridot, p. 376, 2pp.
- Summer 1968, Peridot Found in North Carolina, p. 311, 2pp.
- Winter 1969, Cat’s-Eye Peridot, p. 129, 1p.
- Spring 1970, Star Peridot (4-Rayed and 6-Rayed), p. 150, 1p.
- Spring 1975, Heat and Chemical Sensitivity of Peridot, p. 14, 2pp.
- Summer 1980, Diopside Inclusions in Peridot, p. 332, 2pp.